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Which Level of Care is the Most Appropriate?

By: Stacy Blankenship, MSW, LCSW

Help! My loved one needs help, and I don’t know where to turn!

Have you ever uttered these words when someone in your life has mental health symptoms that are beyond your understanding? If so, you are not alone. Many people experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, or their loved ones, often do not know what to do when they become overwhelmed. Some examples of symptoms that are enigmatic for most people can include:

  • “Dropping out of life” – isolating, quitting work/school, stop doing things to take care of themselves
  • Experiencing hallucinations or delusions – seeing/hearing things that are not there or having false beliefs about themselves and/or the world
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Self-harm behaviors – cutting, burning, banging head or putting oneself in dangerous situations
  • Severe social anxiety and impulsive/aggressive tendencies

Many people with mental health concerns will see a development or exacerbation of these symptoms in early adulthood or in times of increased stress. What should I do to help the person I love to get better? Where do I turn? What if this is me and I can’t live like this anymore?

Did you know that there are different levels of care for people needing help?

Most people believe that there are only two places to get help, outpatient mental health care (regular weekly therapy sessions that last for about an hour) or the hospital (24 hours, locked door care focused on medication and safety). But, for many, especially those people experiencing severe but not life threatening symptoms, these levels of care are not appropriate. People can need more care than once a week therapy but not need to be behind locked doors and nursing care 24 hours daily.

That’s where we come in.

Pasadena Villa Outpatient – Raleigh, offers the in-between level of care needed to help people get back on their feet after experiencing debilitating symptoms of a mental illness. We offer both Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Treatment. These services are focused on helping people develop skills to manage symptoms in a way that feels comfortable to them, and use these skills in real life situations, with their therapist as a coach, when necessary.

How do I know when I need these services, for me or someone else?

You know these services are necessary when:

  1. You have tried care at the traditional outpatient therapy level, and it has not helped.
  2. You have been to a hospital for treatment and no longer need 24-hour care, but still, need a lot of therapeutic support to get fully well.
  3. You need a more individualized, personally developed treatment that fits your specific needs.
  4. You want to have holistic, whole person mental wellness that includes all aspects of living well, not just medical or psychological needs.

What is Partial Hospitalization or Intensive Outpatient Treatment?

Stacy Blankenship, a psychotherapist at Pasadena Villa, breaks down the difference in treatments. Partial Hospitalization, or PHP, is five day a week, 6 hour a day support. Customized treatment, led by a board-certified psychiatrist and conducted by a team of therapists, includes individual therapy on an as-needed basis, group therapy, expressive arts therapy and medication evaluations weekly.  Different from other treatment programs, the PHP program includes our Social Integration Methodology, which uses recreational, social and life-skills activities in the community with your therapist to help assimilate individuals back into everyday life, and physical therapies such as yoga.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment typically takes place three hours a day, three times a week. Intensive Outpatient treatment, or IOP, is a step-down from PHP. It is designed to help people focus on getting better while performing normal life activities such as working or going to school. IOP also includes individualized treatment, group therapy, individual therapy sessions and weekly medication management.

Now that I know what to do what do I do next?

Contact us! Pasadena Villa Outpatient – Raleigh can help decide if this is the right place for you or your loved one. Call us at 877-845-5235 or complete our contact form to help with the next steps of treatment. We currently offer treatment at two residential locations in both Orlando, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee, and outpatient services in Raleigh, North Carolina.

If you think that you or a loved one may be struggling with a mental health disorder, Pasadena Villa can help. We are here to answer questions and connect to care. Pasadena Villa currently offers treatment at two residential locations in both Orlando, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee, and outpatient services in Cary, North Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina. To learn more about our program, call us at
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